Discussion in 'Hare Krishna' started by Nitai, Jun 17, 2005.
LOL it is like taking candy from a kid...so i just let them have there candy .
i agree. because God said so & i said so too.
let the church say AMEN!
end of discussion.
Quite true, but this only proves that I exist, because I am the only person who I know for sure is thinking, the actions of everyone else may be all in my head.
So you can prove to yourself that you exist but can you prove to me that you exist?
Interesting! Yet, I imagine that if I exist in your head, I may or may not be real. But, I exist nonetheless.
quite true, I make a simillar point in my thread on the philosophy section - "Mickey mouse exists! Do you?"
Which very few people have commented on. Im a bit dissapointed about that, I thought it was a really good thread.
I saw that thread, thought it was good, and filed it away in my mind (which thinks that I'm real) for futture enjoyment.
As to the subject at hand, I'll add a bit, though it doesn't go very far toward the goal of proving one's existence to another.
* * *
I think, therefore I am. To me, but not to you.
You think, therefore you am. To you, but not to me.
But if you choose to think that I am, then I am to you.
For example, I believe that all posters to this thread exist. To me, you're real people. I see no evidence of ghosts or monkeys among us. Of course, I can't prove or disprove that.
It's a matter of -- of --
*has trouble bringing himself to say it*
-- of faith.
So. I can't prove to you that I exist, but you can choose to believe that I do.
Those of us who want proof will have to go without.
And this, after all that earnest angst I spewed over the thread earlier.
Guess I fit nicely into that all-too-human category of paradox. Someone said (wish I could remember who) that one of the things unique about humans is our ability to simulatneously hold true two contradictory beliefs.
This is fun, though.
Three cheers for paradox!
Good point Mr Kun,
I too believe that all these posters exist, I believe that they are real people because even though I cannot prove it, I do have some compelling evidence of their existence.
Which is the soundest reason I have yet heard to believe in God. It cannot be proven that he exists but there is some compelling evidence.
There is no more reason to believe in God then their is to believe in man.
Damn, I think I just proved myself wrong.
the salient question, here, is what, precisely, defines "self" or this elusive "i" that beings think that they are?
without some sort of working understanding of what we all mean by this term, we may actually all be saying the same thing! who would know?!
in the Buddhist view, the concept of self is called Atman. Atman is a Sanskrit term and has several nuanced meanings. typically, the term is meant to denote the existence of an unchanging, permenantly existing from its own side, self-sufficient entity.
so... how do you folks define "self"?
This may sound simplistic, but I think of my "self" as the part of me that does the thinking.
Yes, indeed, wonderful question. The questions "what is self; what is God?" though seemingly related are in my opinion interrelated questions which like koans can occupy someone on a path for a lifetime. My understanding of most monotheistic religions is the basic notion that one is not an independent, "self"-sufficient entity. Rather, 1 is entirely "dependent" upon, has 1's being in "God" whether realized ot not. The traditional mystical Christian paths such as hesychasm were all about kenosis-emptying oneself of whatever was "not God" to allow one's being to be a vessel to receive/know-gnosis. In essence to "de-self." As with Eckhart, if fully achieved, 1 then knows "all is God, all is in God." Eckhart was apophatic and, of course, would ask one to consider what "God" without attributes might be-wonderful koan: the Old Testament"s "I Am," that was God. Buddhists seek to explore "from the inside" what is "self" and like peeling the layers of an onion find that core of sunyata-"emptiness;" without oermanent, self-sufficient attributes-what I loosely call a personal form of apophaticism. To some degree those seemingly different approaches might then at points overlap to ask the overall question from Zen tradition: all things reduce to the One, what is the One?" Take care, Earl
I replied, check it out.
not simplistic at all.
let me pose this query to you...
let us say that your thinking becomes imparied through an accident.
are you still "you"?
Of course you exist. Now, who is it that exists?
You have thoughts that come and go. Are those thoughts "You?"
You have feelings that come and go. Are those feelings "You?"
You have relationships, things, possessions, etc. that come and go. Are they "You?"
Have a good one, earl, (my space-time nominal designation-really is not a "screen" name )
Hmm...I tend to think the answer is yes. Here's why.
I am constantly changing. As a small child, I learn to tie my shoe; to pronounce "spaghetti"; to ride a bike. Each experience builds my self confidence.
The neighbor's dog snarls at me; I see my dad explode in anger for the first time; I cut my finger. These events teach me caution.
Every event, experience, thought that I take in changes me. I grow, I become.
My tissue changes, too. Skin flakes off, is replaced by new skin. Et cetera. I mention this because the changes in my physical form affect the way I think, my world and self views.
Change doesn't have to be upward, outward, more refined, more sophisticated. It can be downward, inward, et cetera.
An accident leaves me mentally impaired. I am still me, but not as mobile, not as competent. My world and self views shrink.
I'm still me until I can no longer think, at which point I cease to be.
This is my view of the matter.
Many argue whether someone who is braindead is alive or not. To me, a body pumping blood and oxygen in the absence of thought is not alive.
I'm somewhat comfortable with my conclusion on this subject, but open to change, as I like to think I am on all of my beliefs.
What do you think?
thank you for the post.
indeed, this is the case.
since you are, in fact, constantly changing, there cannot be a permenantly existing, unchanging entity of self, or soul, or being.
it would seem that you are saying that "you" are the sum of your experiences. are "you" more than the sum of your experiences?
how does the change of the physical form effect how "you" think?
i'm not really asking how physical changes change the thought process, per se, what i'm asking is, really, how any of these physical changes effect "you" if "you" are not the physical body?
change, in our view, doesn't have directions or purpose, per se.
what is still you? the process of thinking?
when you are asleep and no longer consciously thinking, do you exist?
and a fine view to hold, it is.
would you say that a being in a coma is alive or dead?
how about a tree? is a tree alive or dead?
what do *i* think?
i think that if one defines the idea of self or soul to be something which is constantly changing, not eternally existing from its own side, then there is no reason for imputing the concept of an eternally existing self other than to appease the clinging mind.
to be honest with you... this is a very subtle point in the Buddha Dharma and, (showing my bias), even other Buddhists have difficulty in this realization. whilst we may have some intellectual understanding of impermenance and selflessness, that is quite a different thing than the emotional impact of the realization that there is no Atman.
I can't help jumping in here to ask a question ... if everyone is the sum of their experiences, then doesn't the fact that that being has had those particular experiences in some way lend the being a form and a "self"? It is like water that arranges itself to a container ... it is still water but changes ... from liquid to gas to solid, its shape depending on the container or conditions.
Or are you saying that the water itself is an illusion?
Perhaps I am mixing metaphors?
Following your Buddhist lead (we should all be banished forthwith!), we can apply the idea of the two truths, conventional & absolute. On the conventional level, of course we exist in innumerable measurable ways. On that level, we can apply the pragmatic test: what makes a difference is a difference. After all, the participants in this discussion have made a difference just in exchanging their views!
On the absolute level, no independent, permanent, metaphysical self can be logically demonstrated.
That said, it seems to me that too often we get hung up on mere words and the self/non-self dichotomy – and I include Buddhists in this. The self not only exists, pragmatically speaking, it’s probably the most important thing about us. Without an idea of self, we would be at a loss to explain practically anything about human behaviour. The self – our human self – is precisely the vehicle of enlightenment (see for example Dhammapada, Chapter 12). We may be speaking through personas here, but beneath Vajradhara, Bandit, Presser Kun, Awaiting the Fifth, Devadatta, etc., are organizing gestalts that make for personality and for the distinctively different ways in which each of us speaks. The thing is this gestalt of personality is complex, multiple, interdependent and in constant motion. For me this is the crux. The self is not a noun but a verb, not a thing but a process.
This I feel is the true difficulty. To see one’s self as action, as process, as movement rather than as any “thing” in particular by definition implies no ownership and really nothing to cling to. And that’s the source of our anxiety. Any “doctrine of self” as the Buddhists say is an attempt to overcome that anxiety, but only results in a descent into “a thicket of views, a wilderness of views”.
But as I’ve suggested even the doctrine of non-self can lead us astray and get us hung up in mere words. It’s not a matter of denying any concept of self but of understanding how self really works.
So it’s not easy. And at the same time, at certain lucky moments, it’s the easiest thing in the world: just let go. A sudden lack of clinging can be such a relief!
thank you for the post.
i agree, in general, with what has been stated here.
indeed, this can be a problem. one of the primary reasons why the Ch'an traditions stress the realization more than the verbalization, in my view.
the Buddhist term for these are "skandhas". the heaps of aggregates, as it were.
indeed.. hence the teaching of Right View in the Noble Eightfold Path
it depends on the dialetic being employed, within the Buddhist context at any rate, in my view.
none of this has anything to do with proof or evidence for God, one way or the other
I have no problem with the idea that my entire body is turned over every, what was it Vaj, six years? Yet my body looks more or less the same thanks to my DNA blueprint. Why couldn't the self be the same way, ever turning over, remaining the same in essence, yet completely different. We are the river, not the water in it. Which is the oak, the acorn or the tree? They look completely different, yet they are both "oak."
Never mind me... I'm strictly a lightweight.
Good point! But sometimes I wonder if in fact the two qestions are related more than we have examined here. After all, In Christianity our self dies and what remains is the Christ Spirit.
Separate names with a comma.